The Orgasm Gap. And some ideas about how to maybe close it…(Censored)

Leading on from the previous post; Female Pleasure – or not, this post explores the Orgasm Gap – as it’s something I wrote about having experienced, and then learned there was a name for it.

In this article by Kate Hakala, is says that ‘on average, only 57% of women are having orgasms most or every time they have sex. The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior found that while 91% of men got off during their last sexual encounter, only 64% of women came.’ (US stats)

Apparently, this gap is much more rare amongst homosexual partners. A 2014 survey found that ‘gay men come about 85% of the time while lesbian women get off about 75% of the time’.

So, as Hakala astutely observes, ‘How, pray tell, are straight couples getting it so damn wrong in bed?’

Is it because, ‘men just aren’t willing to do that hard “work” as often as women’…?

‘Its what Kate McCombs calls “the empathy gap” in sex. “Some guys just don’t make the effort to make sure their partners are having as much fun as they are.”‘

Ouch.

Another interviewee states, “It’s almost baffling how being selfish in bed is basically baseline for straight couples,” […] “Just some slight generosity, just making sure I come when he comes. … That’s what’s going to separate the people I never call again from the people I definitely fuck again.” Exactly, that’s just what I was battling with in my last post Female Pleasure…or not – I just don’t get it. It’s so easy for both parties to be happy….

A huge part of the problem is social norms that dictate ‘the focus on men’s internal wants and sensations … Thus his orgasm, but not necessarily hers, becomes a critical part of what must happen for a sexual encounter to be successful and fulfilling.’

Which is why ‘intercourse – a sexual act that is strongly correlated with orgasm for men – is the only act that almost everyone agrees counts as “real sex,” whereas activities that are more likely to produce orgasm in women are considered optional foreplay.’ (Lisa Wade).

And ‘male orgasm is the default of sex, but female orgasm still, against all logic, isn’t.’ Exactly the reason I invented Dick Advisor.

This is exactly the predominant social norm that as women we are battling against. Help us out fellas!! Educate yourselves & make sure that gal gets off! Though if you’re reading this you are more than likely already one of those that isn’t lacking in that area….:)

Another issue Lisa Wade identifies is ‘the idea that women’s primary goal in sex is to deliver a sexy body can focus her attention on how she looks instead of how she feels. This can lead to spectating, being worried about how she looks from her partner’s perspective, which decreases the chance a woman will have an orgasm’.

Yet another issue which author of Girls and Sex, Peggy Orenstein identifies when interviewed in this article is ‘that we perform the equivalent of a psychological clitoridectomy on girls from the time they’re babies. We name all boy parts, but with girls we’re silent from the navel to the knees. We never say vulva or clitoris, and studies show that fewer of half of girls have ever masturbated. Then they go into their partner encounters and we somehow magically think they’re going to be able to express their wants and needs and limits, and think that sex is about them, too – and it’s not realistic. We’re setting them up for unequal relationships’.

Orenstein also talks about the role of porn in this, where too often still ‘female sexuality is there just for male pleasure, as a performance for men’.

These are all crucial, and important points to understand in terms of why the orgasm gap exists.

So what to do about this?

According to most of what I’ve read, the best way of ensuring that as a woman, you come more is to leave hook ups behind and have a relationship.

Not to detract in any way from the important points above it, but I have an issue with this idea. Basically, that as women if we want to come, we need to change our own behaviour and conform to societies relationship norms – e.g. by having a relationship even if we don’t want one.

Men won’t make (single) women come, so rather than change the inequity of the societal norms that result in this, it’s the women’s behaviour & wants we need to change? Yeah, sorry I don’t buy that – and as a woman, changing my own behaviour to make up for the inadequacies of the patriarchal society in which I function is something I’ve been forced into practising far too often over my lifetime.

Here are some reasons this attitude towards women and hook ups, doesn’t hold water;

Firstly, I read about someone who deleted tinder because she had ‘had maybe one orgasm out of all the [five] hookups’ in the last 6 months. That is a bad tally. But she sounds unlucky – my 50% looks pretty reasonable compared to that and I’ve only just started out.

Next, I’m not sure, but I think in this interview they were trying to portray what this guy thinks as a normal attitude;

“I’m all about making her orgasm,” said a man interviewed for their study. “The general her or like the specific her?” he was asked.  “Girlfriend her,” he responded, “In a hook-up her, I don’t give a shit.”

That’s neither normal or OK and shouldn’t be portrayed as such. This is exactly the kind of selfish prick I was talking about in Female Pleasure…or not. What exactly does he think the woman he is with is engaging in this for, purely for his pleasure? It sounds like he has a keen awareness of exactly what he is doing, which just makes him selfish & that’s unacceptable.

I take issue with the idea in Orenstein’s article that hook up culture is just for males – that they are the only sex who can enjoy it, as it’s simplistically portrayed in the article. Me, along with many other women no doubt, very much see this as something for us, that we choose and enjoy – and for it to be suggested that we need intimacy where men don’t and couldn’t possibly enjoy the experience otherwise is hugely patronising. We know exactly what we are doing and actively choose it. (Possibly she is not speaking for my age group, though this isn’t made clear – it’s a point that is made pretty generally in reference to women who hook up).

Something I enjoy also about sex as a singleton that isn’t referred to in any of these articles, is the anticipation, freedom, potential, choice, diversity, excitement and fantasy of it all – that’s a real turn on, and not something you have the freedom to indulge usually (or as much) as part of a relationship.

Leading on from this, my experience was that in a failing relationship you basically have no sex (or drive) at all. This is sad, and not the norm of a healthy relationship, but again this is about looking at the reality of my experience with complete honesty –  this no doubt reflects many real relationships out there too. I ask myself – what is my situation actually like rather than the dreams of what I want it to be like? Do my projected dreams block me from seeing what is actually happening? What I’m actually getting? And if I’m single, is my experience so much the worse? I certainly haven’t found it to be so. Like I’ve been saying, of course there is grief, loneliness, sadness, self-doubt – but like I’ve also been saying, you don’t get to escape these human insecurities just because you count yourself one of a couple. My goal at the moment is to make my situation as good as possible based on my actual reality – not my or societies projected fantasies for what my life should look like.

However, it begs the question…

Where to go from here? I want to balance the ‘come’ tally but don’t want a relationship – really what do I do?

I have some ideas of how to keep your orgasms AND your casual hook ups, if that is indeed what you’re after.

1. CHANGE ATTITUDES: Firstly we can start changing our attitudes as & towards women who choose to engage in hook-ups/casual sex;

‘Out of nerves, insecurity, or a lack of entitlement, women often prioritise men’s pleasure too.’

This has got to stop!!! We don’t just have to accept it and decide that this course of freedom and fun is just not open to us because we can’t get as much pleasure from it – we need to CHANGE it. To CHANGE how men engage in these activities – because in my experience it is really not that bad. I was shocked that 50% of the Tinder men I was with were not interested in my pleasure (let me remind you this is a mere 2 men so far!!), but what I’m more shocked at is the idea that because they aren’t, I somehow have to be excluded from this thing I want to do in order to get what I need, and conform to societies relationship norms when these don’t work for me.

It may be all very well and feminist to decide you aren’t engaging in a hook up because you have more orgasms in a relationship, but it’s not feminist at all to sit back & say ‘ah well, women aren’t getting what we want from this situation – let’s all change our behaviour, limit our freedom as women to adjust ourselves because the patriarchal society we live under that prioritises male pleasure is not giving us what we need’.

Because it is changing already, and there’s already LOADS of men out there dying to give women pleasure!! Its just about finding them… In terms of educating the others & women to feel entitled, we need to think about it, speak about it, write about it more, so that the next generation of women and men know about this, and don’t see intercourse as the ultimate form of ‘proper’ sex. They see sex (in a relationship, casual hookup, whatever) as a pleasurable positive interaction between parties who both care about what each other need.

2. SPECIFY YOUR REQUIREMENTS:

Be very specific on your profile if you are finding people online. As mentioned in my previous post, my Tinder profile now specifically states that I am not interested in men who are only interested in their own pleasure. This has got to help ‘filter in’ those LOADS of men referred to just above! .

3. Consider getting a LOVER:

From the research, evidence shows that ‘additional hookups and additional activities tend to increase her rate of orgasm’ – so a possible solution is to look for one or more regular(ish!) sexual partners – lovers essentially. (How to distinguish this from a boyfriend?? Well I’ve been thinking about that…but that’s another post entirely!)

4. Channel AMY SCHUMER;

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5. Remember these other ‘well-known women [who] publicly embrace their sexuality and insist on not settling for not getting-off — no matter how long it takes, or how much instruction they have to provide’;

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/11-famous-women-who-stand-up-for-a-womans-right-to-orgasm_us_56391a8fe4b0307f2caafd0f

6. TALK

Talk about this with your friends, talk about it with whoever, write about it, research it, post about it, tweet about it, join the conversation – it’s awareness that will help change it. As Orenstein says, part of the problem is that  we ‘still don’t have honest conversations with young women about sexuality and how their bodies should feel to them, rather than how their bodies should look to other people. “Once we stopped saying ‘Don’t do it,’ we did not replace it with discussions about ethics, responsibility, reciprocity and enjoyment. Because of that, the media and now the internet rushed in with a lot of extraordinary, unhealthy messages.”

7. Flex your ‘ENTITLEMENT muscle’

Just to try and sway things the other way a bit try taking the selfish role and take without giving (you know, to ultimately get that final happy medium….). Because frankly as women, our entitlement muscle is something that has had millennia of neglect – its been sitting there limp and unused, so this could be just the way to train it. Pleeeeease let me know if you do this – I am going to try!!! Would take some guts …. 🙂

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I want your ideas! I’m only one person with my own ideas and thoughts, channelling some of the ones I’ve found around me. I really would love to hear yours – tell me your thoughts on the little (or big!) things we can do to help shift these social norms and make things better for women…..scrap that – better for everyone! Because who isn’t happy when everyone’s having great sex?!

REFERENCES:
These are the 4 main articles I reference in this post;
Interview with Peggy Orenstein http://www.thejc.com/lifestyle/lifestyle-features/164699/lets-talk-about-sex%E2%80%A6

‘There’s One Way to Close the Orgasm Gap, Once and For All’ Kate Hakala https://mic.com/articles/141670/this-is-the-number-you-should-try-keeping-in-mind-during-your-sexual-encounters#.kbnBP9bgE

The Orgasm Gap: The Real Reason Women Get Off Less Often Than Men and How to Fix It Lisa Wade  http://www.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/orgasm-gap-real-reason-women-get-less-often-men-and-how-fix-it

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/11-famous-women-who-stand-up-for-a-womans-right-to-orgasm_us_56391a8fe4b0307f2caafd0f

 

7 thoughts on “The Orgasm Gap. And some ideas about how to maybe close it…(Censored)

  1. Those statistics – average 57% of women orgasm – I wonder if that is all due to men’s efforts, or if it ‘just happens’ anyway. Personally, I think there are not many better things to be involved in as a woman’s orgasm – it completely enhances the whole experience… keep fighting the fight, SFB!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Call me lucky, but my Fella says that he likes getting me off; it turns him on. So why are there guys that find it unsettling is beyond me. If I were in your position, I would establish the precedent like you have on your tinder profile and demand during the act, that you get yours first. If he complies, then maybe next time, he can go first. 😉 I love this post btw. Absolute gold!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I loved your post.
    First off, I can’t say that I have the experience necessary to offer qualified, insightful or even germane commentary that would shed light on your already well-though post. I am a male who has never been a part of the hook-up culture. This is not to say that in my long-term relationship/marriage that I have been a good and decent partner.

    Taking me at face-value, I have been the man who has been more focused on my own orgasm moreso that that of my partner. I was that person for a number of years that after I experienced my release, I was less-likely to proceed with sex. I was one-and-done. However, it was my desire to be more for my girlfriend (then, wife) and to fulfill her pleasure needs. I believe that there were several factors in our intimacy that contributed to my wife’s inability to achieve orgasm until she was in her forties. I shoulder most (though, at times, all) of the blame for not being the man who could help her attain sexual release.

    M wife was raised that sex was dirty and that there is embarrassment (if not shame) surrounding any talk of sex. She never has (even to this day) self-pleasured as she cannot get passed the stigma of masturbation. She suffers from a near-crippling negative self-body image and that her stunning nude body is anything, but. Considering all of that, she considers herself to be a very sexual woman and I tend to agree with her with the caveat that her preconceptions become barriers in the most critical times when she is on the verge of personal breakthrough. For instance, during the build-up to orgasm…just as she is about to achieve climax, the negative voices/thoughts about sex become instantaneous roadblocks.

    I have always wanted to be the man who helps her to achieve all that she wants with intimacy even if I have failed miserably in getting her there (even giving up and settling for “getting mine”). That moment when I was giving her oral and manual stimulation that took her over the edge for the first time was THE most amazing moment for me. That I was finally able to help her achieve that made sex so much more gratifying for me. That changed me more than I could ever have imagined. When she comes, there is a transportation that occurs that is spiritual as if her waves of pleasure pass into me. I would much rather give her consecutive orgasms long before I ever have my own.

    You would think that this was the beginning of an amazing story of a couple’s intimate life. Life however, got in the way. Without going into detail, our marriage hit brick wall. She told me things about me and us that was damaging – my trust in her was shaken. Our intimacy came to an abrupt and complete halt. Months later, I allowed myself to be open to an emotional affair that turned physical after several months. With my affair partner, a loving relationship developed and the intimacy that we shared was unbelievable. It is difficult to write this but everything I learned in pleasuring my wife, I gave to my new intimacy partner and we both experienced pleasure that was unparalleled. She experienced consecutive orgasms with me – orally, via intercourse, manual stimulation – all of which, she previously had considerable difficulty in realizing with her husband and previous (to her marriage) sexual partners. We clicked. We read each other’s signs and followed each other’s leads. It was incredible. Her orgasms were heavenly to see, hear, and feel. After nearly two years, the guilt and shame of having the affair outweighed the shared love and intimacy and we painfully parted ways.

    My marriage still in shambles and my heart thoroughly broken, I slipped into yet another relationship with another woman who was consoling me through my heartbreak. Where she was encouraging me in repairing my marriage, after a few months, we found that we had feelings for each other and began an emotional and physical relationship (yes, pathetic story, I know) and all that I learned with my wife and previous affair partner came to bear in this new relationship and the sex was intoxicating as this woman came effortlessly from all that I gave to her. It was downright addictive to give her orgasms and she too, gave to me. We could come together and enjoy the reception of each other’s desire to give. We were equally matched in the desire to make the other cum. Even the desire to enjoy and share (in cum play) became a driving force between us. As with the previous affair partner, the guilt became so massive (for me, at least) that I had to stop. I love my wife (as stupid as that sounds) and I want to rebuild my relationship and marriage. I loathe myself and that rather than to remain faithful to her despite the struggles and her revelation, I could have and should have remained faithful even if sex was off the table for these past few years.

    The story has a positive ending and we are openly talking and seeking each other. We are in therapy and we have re-introduced intimacy. We are taking baby-steps and I am happy to say that my single-most arousing desire is to bring her to orgasm (after orgasm). We have a long way to go and we are walking with each other to get there.

    I will counsel any man who is willing to listen that “her” orgasm is unparalleled in terms of experiencing greater arousal and more intense orgasms of their (men) own. For me, the shift from receiving to giving has been monumental in helping me to have my priorities straight. I LOVE giving! There is NOTHING more arousing than to see, hear and feel your partner in ecstasy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story and views on this in such an open way. It sounds like its been quite a journey for you – and continues to be – how amazing that you shared it here, in response to this post. Thank you – and the very best with your ongoing journey.

      SFB

      Like

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